Shades of Shadora

Preparing for the Overwatch

The party entered the Gardener’s Path and within minutes were returned to the Dyrad’s
Grove. Lilia met us and thanked us for our service, she said she could feel the changes we
had made to her fen. From the spring in the grove she again offered all in the party a taste
of the water from her rune scribed ladle. All wounds and fatigue lifted from the party as
they drank. Lashaur showed Lilia the Gardener’s bow he had found, and she shuddered. “The
bow of my husband”, where did you come by this? Her husband had been missing for countless
years, the entity in the bow, Ivan, addressed her. His remains were not in the Chaos Nest,
perhaps he still lived. Lilia asked Lashaur to accept the mission to search for him. He
replied that he and the team would do our best. As far as Ivor recalled he had been given
to the Rune Lord Yale, where the husband Zephery was he did not know. We had hoped to find
elves in the Vale of tears after taking the overwatch, perhaps they would have news.
Lilia handed the heavy leather satchel with numerous pockets to Simon, “You have held
up your end of our bargain, here is mine. Provide these to the Lady Raven, she will be able
to make the draughts you requested and many others. Too, give her a message for me. Her
Mother forgives her and would welcome her return with open arms.” Simon accepted the satchel
and message, Lilia opened a new Gardener’s Path to return them to the edge of the Marsh
and Lord Raven. Upon exiting the path the Newt Shaman was waiting with questions, after
hearing of our exploits he suggested that Tenk return with him to the tribe, Tenk declined
and said he would accompany us further.
The return to Fort Raven was interrupted by a pursuit by several Griffins, these were
evaded successfully without injury. The King Griffin would need to be meet, this constant
dogging or our every step was becoming intolerable. Once finished with the Overwatch we
would need to parley with him.
Once at the Fort Simon confronted the Lord Raven with fire in his eye’s, “You sent us
into the marsh without telling us that in addition to raven eggs you stole the Dryad
daughter?” He continued as the Lord Raven cowered back, “In any alliance there will be a give
and take, you have mislead us twice. Once with the mock execution and now with the marsh. If
this happens again it will be the last time. Do you understand!” The Lord hemmed and hawed
but Simon forced him to look him in the eye and give an unequivocal affirmative. Simon
stepped away, “Very well we will speak no more of this.”
The Lady Raven took the satchel, Simon delivered his message and it brought the lady to
tear’s, “She has forgiven me, thank-you so much I have missed her dearly.” She quickly
departed to brewed a potion to restore Lord Jessup. Simon went to his room to recover his
spells. Lord Raven aided the rest of the party prepare for the morning departure. He spoke
of the upcoming High Holiday with some dread, “It is likely that the Volcano priest’s will
choose Fort Raven for their target this year, with the welcome of the Dryad we will abandon
the fort for the immediate time and dwell with her hoping for the best.”
Lord Jessup quickly recovered and promised to continue his arguments to this father Lord
Seahall to fight the Lazuri. He departed with his entourage as the party was mounting the
giant ravens to the flight towards the Overwatch. As Lashaur mounted the Lady Raven came from
the Fort red eyed with weariness, “I’ve laboured though the night but these potions of Dragon’s
Bane should aid you in your quest”. The Lord Raven gave us the final instructions, on meeting
after the mission and re-emphasized the danger of the High Holy Day, twenty days remained. If
the Fire Temple was not captured by the day allies would die. Simon promised our best but with
no guarantee’s.
The party took wing once more and again was troubled by the Griffin’s this time they were
evaded by flying through a storm. We covered more distance than we had expected and landed near
the Spiderwood. Using the Gardner’s Bow Lashaur summoned a Gardner’s path and within minutes
the party and covered a day’s journey towards the Overwatch (coreward). Once clear the party
was attacked by a variety of plain burrower’s. They were killed but in order to hide their
presence the the party’s course and pace was changed slowing them. What should have been an
easy hike to the hills became a desperate race as the sun began to set and the Mists of
Madness began to rise.

Destroying the Chaos Nest

The stairs into the chaos nest was covered with rotting debris
and waste, it was slippery and had an unpleasant smell. The light
was dim, Simon’s sword glowed, Prospero’s staff gave off a blue light,
flames flickered from Arghmon’s staff, and Lashaur’s ring gave off
the light of a torch. It seemed the blackness sucked up the light.
At the bottom of the stairs was a ramp the led to a long passageway.
As the party reached the end of the ramp there was a scream and light
about ten meters ahead. A princess was being dragged away by Gargoyles,
they quickly vanished down a side passage. Simon and Roku turned to
each other and smiled knowingly, a trap, but whose trap was it. They
leaped forward past ajar doors that they knew held other enemies, to
engage the Princess. As Trish always says the only way through an
ambush is to push to the other side as rapidly as possible. The
team exploded into action as creatures of chaos attacked from all
It was as if the team had entered Hell itself, a wave of horrors
surrounded and attacked them. Zombie’s, Ice Demons, a Giant Man-Spider,
Minotaur’s, Gargoyle’s and the Vampire Princess all attacked. Arghmon
released Wild Fire into the fray, and formed a wall of flame blocking
the Minotaur’s and Man-Spider from reaching the team. Roku with Simon
engaged the Vampire and Gargoyles that were waiting around the corner.
Tenk attacked Ice Demons, while Lashaur fired his bow. Dane searched
for cover slashing at zombies with Prospero at her side.
From the rear of the party a creature shaped lie a hat dropped upon
Arghmon covering his head and emitting a horrible scream. Grimclaw was
spooked by it and ran back up the ramp. Simon freed Telpurr from the sword,
he drifted to Wild Fire as Simon beheaded the Vampire. Roku dropped back and
aided Dane with the zombies. The Minotaur’s charged through the fire aiming
for the sorcerers near the back of the party. Their charge lead them past
Simon and Roku, each took one down with a swift swing of their Katana’s. An
Ice Demon cast some type of spell on Lashaur and he disappeared, the creature
was quickly dispatched by Tenk but Lashaur was gone. As Telpurr healed Wild
Fire Simon teleported behind the Man-Spider surprising and wounding him.
Roku moved up to help Simon as Arghmon rid himself of his new hat burning
it and tearing it from his head. The corridor where Simon fought the Vampire
suddenly filled with Zombies, Arghmon and Prospero used their powers of
sorcery and the corridor was filled with blazing flames and falling rocks, the
Zombies were destroyed. As the battle was winding down the Man-Spider touched
Simon with his staff and Simon disappeared. The party finished the remaining
horrors and quickly began to search for the missing members. A glance into the
nearest rooms showed nothing but long dead dessicated corpses. Prospero ordered
Telpurr to lead them to Simon using his link. Prospero, Grimclaw, Arghmon, Wild
Fire, and Dane moved into a corridor leading core-ward following Telpurr while
Roku started healing Tenk from the wounds he had received.
The short corridor lead into a tomb that had obviously been looted by the
forces of chaos. Inside were four Thought eaters. Prospero and Grimclaw
leaped into battle, while Arghmon and Wild Fire moved up to aid them. The
battle resolved quickly, one of the beasts had attached to Grimclaw but
before he could crush his skull he was dropped by Prospero. Wild Fire’s
flaming breath was particularly effective. In the core-ward/spun-ward
corner of the room was a perfectly formed circular corridor. Telpurr advanced
down it while the other took up guard positions, it appeared the corridor went
a great distance without variation or change of direction. Suddenly Telpurr
floated through the wall of the corridor, moments later Simon and Lashaur
appeared, Telpurr followed. Lashaur told of tale of being trapped in a
gelatinous cube that he could feel was slowly eating him. He used his teleport
spell to free himself but was in a exit less room with the cube, then Simon
arrived in the cube as well. He escaped in a similar manner to Lashaur and
together the they sliced it down to scrap size. Simon cast his fire blade and
destroyed it. The team reformed in the crypt, and searched the desecrated tombs
while keeping a keen watch for their enemies.
We discovered many treasures:
From a Squire’s tomb a Master Work Silver dagger that stored the essence
of magic,
From a Priest’s tomb a Journeyman Staff called “Impediments”, it carries the
spells Barrier and Lockmaster.
Potions of Shape Change and Heal Body
Scrolls of Sever Spirit and Flame Weapon.
From a Dwarf’s tomb Superb Chain with an embedded Truestone with many
spells one likely lost since the chaos wars, a Teral Relic Blunderbuss and
Powder Horn with magic runes.
From an Elf’s tomb a Elfin Gardeners Longbow that had matrix’s for many spells.
From an Xern’s tomb a Superb Crossbow with divine matrix’s.
From a Priests tomb a 1st Empire Coin, with some unknown magic.
From a Mawla tomb a wax sealed jar with runes of xarandar engraved about edge
From the Thought Eaters a Black wand that clutches orb filled with swirling shapes,
but what it does none can tell.

The treasures were quickly disturbed for no sooner had the search ended than a new
Chaotic hoard attack the passage way leading to the crypt. Dane and Tenk held the
way against a new wave of evil. Prospero seeing they were over-matched cast a
spell into the corridor, stones rained down on the chaos spawn and the corridor
was cleared for Simon, Lashaur, and Roku to charge out. Back in the main
passageway the trio found a Fire Demon called a Shiner, Vroks, and more undead.
The Shiner retreated to an unsearched portion of the ruins driven off by Arghmon
who followed. The rest of the party dispatched the Vroks and other enemies. Once
the corridor was clear the party followed the light generated by Arghmon, he said
he had seen the Shiner walk through the wall rim-ward.
Investigating the party found a broken magical seal, likely an artefact that
had held the Chaos in check. An opening in the wall was discovered, hidden by a
clever illusion. The party moved though the illusion into a large audience chamber.
The walls echoed with the beating of a heart. In the chamber were Vroks, Zombies,
the Shiner, and a Liche. To the side of the Liche was the Vampire that Simon had
already downed once. Simon slashed down a Vrok and stepped forward. Prospero moved
into the room and dropped rocks on several of our foes. Roku engaged a second Vrok.
Simon seeing a direct charge to the Liche would take to long once more used his
ring and appeared behind the Liche surprising him. A quick slash with his Katana
finished the Liche and his Sashi drove the Vampire back, to his surprise the heart
beat on. As the others fought to cross the room to aid Simon the Vampire levelled
its gaze on him, his swords drooped and gazing at the Vampire he crossed the space
to her. As the Vampire reached for him an arrow from Lashaur bow struck her in the
chest, effectively killing her and turning her to dust. Simon woke up from a daze
to see the Shiner fleeing through a spun-ward wall, Simon realizing it must be another
illusion shouted for support and leaped into and through the wall finding himself
in a secret corridor. Simon was quickly followed by Roku and Prospero.
Simon raced down the passageway seeking the origin of the beating sound. At the
end was a beating heart the size of an elephant the Shiner beside it. Tentacles
reached out as Simon, Roku and Prospero neared. Without hesitation Simon used the
sever spirit scroll they had discovered in the crypt. The heart staggered and made
a horrible wail, but resumed beating. Simon and Roku fought to free themselves of
the tentacles while Prospero attacked the heart with magic. Once free Simon attacked
the heart while Roku slashed and destroyed the Shiner.
No one knows who cast the killing blow on the demonic heart but when it died
a howling wind began and drew it into the void beneath it. Simon off balance from
his last attack followed it into the void, Roku leaped from the doorway and
grabbed his ankle saving him. Together they scrambled out of the sink hole that
was forming, as they fled down the corridor Simon shouted if you want to live run,
even as they ran the floor below them was plunging into the void. The group
sprinted through the ruins, falling rubble and debris closing routes and injuring
team members. Somehow the team made it out, last was Arghmon and Lashaur, running
up the final ramp the tower above collapsed, Roku and Simon raced back into the
ruins and quickly cleared debris to free the two and helped them to the surface.
The question then became how much of the disk would the void consume, they ran
from the ancient walls heading into the marsh when the site with a rumble and a
cloud of dust collapsed into the void. Crevasses formed heading into the marsh
from the sink hole, streams diverted into the hole, as the team thought the end
had come a mighty groan issued from the hole and the the collapse and ruin ended,
the hole began filling from the diverted streams and a new lake began to form. The
team considered taking time to rest and recover but thought better of it, the
Gardener’s path was near they entered leaving the area as fast as they could.

The Chaos Nest's Front Door.

The team reconnoitered the the entry to the Chaos nest.
Simon climbed a tree to view the interior of the ruined
structure. The entrance was guarded by two by Eye Tyrants,
one was truly enormous. Upon the mound were Chaos Apes, and
skeletons. From Simon’s perch it appeared that the wall
covered the entire site. At the far end of the ruins was a
large statue which somehow caught Simon’s glance. The statue
was of a beautiful naked Journeyman woman. Simon appeared to
freeze when he looked in its direction. A whispered hiss brought
him to his senses and he scampered down. Whenever someone in the
team moved the nearest, smaller, Eye Tyrant would drift in the
direction of the party. The party would wait quietly until its
suspicions eased and it moved away.
Roku moved spinward to see that Simon’s guess was correct,
unfortunately he could find no opening in the wall. He did notice
that the wall was holed and would be easy to climb. He signed in
the slave language, the party moved to Roku. Simon moved up to try
the wall once at the top the Statue again caught his gaze and he was
mesmerized. A well thrown rock from Roku brought him to his senses.
Unfortunately the inquisitive Eye Tyrant had spotted something and
with apes and skeletons started to move towards the party. Battle
was joined.
Tenk the Newtling spit in his hand and summoned a Undine,
Argmon released Wild Fire his salamander and sent it to the top
of the wall. Lashaur engaged the Eye Tyrant with his bow while
Simon moved into the open slashing down a Chaos Ape. Wild Fire
fired several cones of fire from the wall into the interior. Many
skeletons and a Bonelord fell under his attacks. The smaller Eye
Tyrant was quickly dispatched by attacks from several team members.
Simon attacked the larger Eye Tyrant to be blasted by three of the
eyes. One of the attacks flung him back into the trees twenty feet
back. Dane stepped up and fired her crossbow striking the tyrants
main eye. By the time Simon recovered the tyrant had been dispatched
by missile weapons. Before it’s demise it possessed Tenk’s undine
and sent it against him. He was smashed into the wall, while Roku
stepped up and dispatched it. With the Ape’s and Tyrant’s killed
the remaining Bonelords and skeletons were quickly destroyed. Wild
Fire took a serious wound as it destroyed that last of the Bonelords.
Prospero moved up the stairs into the ruins and the gaze of
the statue. He could feel the pressure of its magic trying to take
his gaze. But he could tell this was all wrong this wasn’t a Journeyman
ruin, no doubt evil magic was at play. As he approached he noted magical
runes on the stone pedestal that the statue sat upon. With his Earth
magic he deformed the base causing the rune’s to break. A blast of
malevolent chaos magic blasted out of the statue, fortunately no one
was injured. No longer hidden by its illusions the statue became the
image of the Chaos God Lurkolaze. An ugly terrifying demon covered by
fanged mouths, bloody eyes, and writhing tentacles. Know as Elemental
Chaos, The Voice of the Void and Lord of Horrors, Prospero used his
earth magic once more deforming one of the statue’s legs causing it
to topple and shatter. A quick search of the ruins identified a working
stairway that lead downwards. The team formed into a marching order
with Simon and Roku leading the way, Grim Claw was rear guard. The
team moved into the nest.

Departing Fort Raven and meeting the Dryad

Lord and Lady Raven threw lavish reception and dinner for Lord
Jessup. Lord Raven introduced the party as retainers he had hired as
problem solvers, our weapons indicated the problems we addressed. As Lord
Raven prepared to give the opening toast the Lady Raven shouted out, the
wine has been poisoned. Everyone froze as she moved about the room
checking each glass. Lord Jessup’s was the only drink that was safe. He
immediately protested his innocence. The Majordomo was called for and
hurried to the kitchen, when he returned he reported that the wait
staff had been drugged and replaced by Lord Jessup’s men. Jessup
shouted he never gave any such order. All eyes turned to the remaining
two wait staff who quickly fled the room, Jessup leapt to his feet and
followed shouting oaths and curses. Simon was close on his heels.
As the two ran into the Great Hall Simon heard the retort of a
crossbow, Jessup fell at his feet with a bolt in his chest. Looking
up at the second story balcony he saw an Assassin of Ard reloading
his crossbow. Simon saw the assassin see though his disguise and say
the Lion of the Dawn lives. Simon shouted to warn the others of
their enemies as he ran up the wall to land on the balcony. Lashaur
and Dain immediately ran for a servant’s stair near them. While the
rest of the party ran for the front door. Lashaur, Simon, and Dane
quickly finished the two assassins on the upper floors. The others
spotted four others in the front of the castle cutting horses loose
from Jessup’s carriage and wagons. They deftly leapt to the saddle
making for the bridge.
Prospero cast a spell changing into an Eagle and soared ahead of them.
Rory seized a spare mount and took off in pursuit. Roku and Argmon each
headed for the Catapults that guarded the bridges. The catapult shots
were very destructive but inconsistent in aim. One engulfed the tower
Prospero had landed in flames causing him to descend and meet the enemy
on foot. Some of the shots dropped rubble in the path of the riders,
Prospero summoned Guardian’s but they proved ineffective as the Assassins
rode past. The catapults, and poor horsemanship took out three of the
riders. The fourth was taken by Rory who had navigated the rubble and
flames and was able to overtake and slash down his foe.
As the party returned to the fort Lord Raven meet them with a smile
you boys certainly live up to your reputation for mayhem and destruction,
no doubt meant as a joke Argmon replied coldly, they will trouble you no
more. As it looked like heated words were about to be spoken the group was
interrupted by Lady Raven, there is time. “Lord Jessup has been wounded
and poisoned, without the correct herbs I will not be able to save him. If he
dies here it could mean war with the Lord of Seahall.” The known location for
the herbs was in the Raven Fen. Our departure was moved up and the team
quickly gathered their gear, Lady Raven warned I will be able to counter
the poison for twelve hours, but after that the young lord will die. We
departed on the Giant Raven’s.
Lord Raven landed at the edge of the Fen, when Simon inquired why
we couldn’t fly directly to the center and find the Dryad. He responded
that it would be a bad idea. Simon’s further questioning lead to the
admission that the Giant Ravens were hatched from eggs stolen from the
fen. The Dryad had a blood feud with the Lord and Lady Raven. The team
dismounted and headed into the Fen.
As the Giant Ravens circled away Roku spotted two Newtlings. The Shaman
addressed Roku, “Roku two snakes, the chief has decided to send his son
with you to learn the ways of the World. It is a great honor”. He looked
disdainfully at the other party members, “Why do you travel with the
no tails?”. Roku spoke with him and the size of the party increased by
one, a Newtling named Tenk. The party questioned him about the Fen and
the Dryad but all he would say is that the Newtlings would not trespass
in her marsh. The slog though the marsh began.
Going was treacherous, vines and thorns pulled on clothes and within
minutes all the water bottles were holed and leaking. Prospero summoned
more water but could do nothing about the path. Argmon suggested a fire
but was voted down by the party, we were after all coming in peace. After
another hour of slogging, Simon had had enough. He stopped and shouted
out “Oh keeper of the Fens, we come in peace. We need your aid but would
offer you alliance against the tyranny of the Lazuri.” Through the marsh
came a woman’s voice, “You came with the thieves and marsh defilers you
think I cannot see beyond my marsh, you are nothing but liars and thieves.”
Simon responded “I am Alexander First Day, we come in peace, my word
is my bond. We arrived with the Lord Raven but were unaware that he
had wronged you. Yet we would still meet with you if you allow for
we fight the Lazuri and their insane plans.”
Silence reigned for several minutes, then a gardeners path formed
and the voice spoke again, “Come to me Alexander First Day, we will meet,
I offer you the protection of a guest, but expect you to behave as
a guest”. The party moved along the path covering miles in moments and
the party emerged into an enchanted glade. In the glade was a enormous
tree, it looked to be very old, this Dyrad was very powerful.
The party was greeted by a beautiful female, Lashaur was smitten,
she said “You bring one of the woods, he shall remain with me”. Simon
responded as guest you are to treat us, he is my friend if he chooses
to remain it will be at his choice not yours. A curt “Yes, Yes of
course” was the reply. Come we will drink the guest cup, she lead
the team to the center of the grove and a spring. From a silver pail
she drew a silver ladle, runes were etched into each. Each of the party
drank from the ladle and all hurt and weariness fled. Negotiations
proceeded, the Dryad had the herbs we needed and many others but
had a problem she wished us to resolve. Within the Marsh was an ancient
chaos nest, recently the Lazuri had fought there way into the marsh and
had somehow re-activated it. Until their meddling it had been a nuisance,
now it was a danger to the Fen.
The party agreed to deal with the nest in exchange for the herbs. The
Dryad opened a gardeners path and within minutes of jogging we were
in sight of the chaos nest. As the party approached a hundred zombies
marched into the Fen. Not as abandoned as we had hoped. The outpost was
on a mound, likely an ancient temple. It was guarded by Eye Tyrants, Chaos
Apes, and skeletons. Within was some type of statue.

Fort Raven Planning
Arghmon Returns

The night before arrival at Fort Raven Simon changed his appearance. To hide
the secret that he and Trish still lived he decided chose a disguise and Nom de
guerre. He took the name Alex First Day and the appearance of a Waymaster of
the Hamar Tayar. As such he shaved his head and altered his fighting suit and
weapons. Foe Flogger would become his offhand weapon while his sashi would become
primary. His Katana Inferno’s Edge he would carry on his back. Further he took
throwing knives in the Hamar Tayar tradition. After arrival at Fort Raven he
requested Lord Raven to put out quires for the purchase of a Chariot and Horses
for Alex First Day was a known charioteer.
As the River Queen docked at Fort Raven’s pier the Majordomo and a small army
of servants arrived to aid the party debark. The Majordomo lead the party into
the Fort and through a maze of rooms and corridors to the War room. The walls
were covered with maps of the disk but a great table in the center of the room
had a huge map of Broad Shoulders. The Lord and Lady Raven welcomed the parth,
, the Lord said with a smile “Let the destruction of the Luzuri and their allies
begin, we will meet at noon, until then recover from your travel”. The Lord asked
for a private talk with Simon, Prospero and Lasheur as the others where shown to
their quarters. The Lord led the three to a door with two guards and explained “A
stranger arrived two days ago, he appears dangerous. He claims to be a comrade,
I’ve given him the hospitality of the fort but he has remained solitary during
the wait. I leave his judgement to you, if a spy he will be executed.”
Simon moved forward and knocked at the door, from within he heard the reply
“Enter”. He pushed the door open with apprehension, the guards shifted nervously
and Simon tensed. Then his face lighted with a simile, “Arghmon”, long have we
missed you. The friends quickly crowded into the room, Lord Raven remaining
outside and still with a look of apprehension. Introductions where made and the
Lord departed on the Keep’s business. Prospero told the guards to bring food
and drink and the friends exchanged news until summoned to the Lord’s planning
session. Arghmon had changed, a darkness was upon him. Walking the Connundrum
his Master had betrayed him to forces of chaos. He would not relate the ordeal
even to Prospero. He had overcome the unexpected and slain his master. The
authorities had understood but couldn’t be seen as supporting an apprentice
killing his master, Arghmon was banished from Emancia. Even with the darkness
upon him the friends were happy he was back.
The planning meeting started with a speech by Lord Raven, then Simon gave
some idea’s. Many plans and strategies were discussed, all had some flaw or
problem. The compass showed Father Vargus residing in the Ruins of Glynn.
Killing him to deprive Volmog of his services was discussed but Simon pointed
out that if he escaped he was sure to identify Simon destroying the secret. A
second thought was to quest for the next piece of the Sword of Doom, the compass
pointed to the Sea of Steam. The general feeling from the allies was that
if we left the region the Lazuri would become resurgent and recover from
the blows we had delivered. Roku suggested the Overwatch, rumours hinted at
devices that can view and signal anyone in the region. Too the dormant
volcano was currently was a hatchery for the chaotic Wyverns the Lazuri use
as mounts. A double blow against the enemy if we succeeded. Prospero asked
that if any supply of Dragon’s Bane could be found, the team would need an
edge fighting the Wyvern numbers that we were likely to encounter. The Lady
Raven mentioned the Raven Fen’s, ruled by a powerful Dryad but it has many rare
plants and herbs. Lasheur suggested the Vale of Tears, if Elves survived there
perhaps they would become allies, bowmen of their caliber would welcome.
So the plan was set, the party was on the move, Raven Fens for Dragon
Bane, next the Overwatch to destroy the Wyvrns and capture its capabilities for
our cause, finally a visit to the Vale of Tears for potential allies.
For five days the party rested and recovered their strength. At dinner
the night before the party departed a new guest was introduced, Lord Jessup.
The son of the Lord of Seahall, a castle spinward from the fort, he was a
captain of ships and patrolled the Sea of Steam for Broad Shoulders, or so
we were informed.

Cleansing the Sentinel Swamp
How Roku two snake got his snakes.

Cleansing the Sentinel Swamp can be best remembered by the Tempest that
formed over the battle site. Simon’s Ring of Storms lived up to its name, by
the time fighting began the rain was falling in sheets, the blowing wind
grounded the Harpies, lighting strikes landed among the Kur, and the waters
of the swamp quickly rose.
Lasheur, Roku, Dane, and Gurgle, formed a firing line on the near side of
the creek (which quickly became a stream). They were the shield for Prospero
who used the feathered wand to wrest control of the Hydra from the Disease
Master. Simon teleported to the cave near the Disease Master. The battle
quickly devolved into the noise of the storm the bellows of the hydra and
the barking of the Kur. As a Harpy tried to take wing a bolt from the storm
struck it down. Many times the Kur and allies formed and rushed the firing
line, only to be thrown back. Roku and Brine distinguished themselves,
switching to hand weapons as the firing line was about to be overrun. Roku’s
Newt allies were particularly helpful in the rising waters. Attacking from the
shelter of the water the Kur were taken by surprise while trying to cross the
stream. Many were gutted before they realized the were being attacked.
During the course of the battle the Newt Shaman gifted Roku with two snakes
with magical powers. The team now call him Roku Two Snake. Unfortunately
there should have been three but an errant arrow from one of the archers
killed the third. The archers did complain about the wind and rain but other
than the snake their shooting remained good.
In the cave the Disease Master summoned a Chaos Demon, a swirling mass
of blackness and corruption. As it bumped a nearby Kur it was sucked into
the darkness and destroyed. Simon responded with a Mirror Image spell and
drew Foe Flogger. Doing a sweep with the Ball and Chain he knocked a Kur
Berserker into the Demon. The fight became a game of Cat and Kur, with
Simon moving and sweeping always keeping his foes between him and the
Demon. Finally the Hydra blundered into the Demon and both were destroyed
(or at least vanished into the void). Simon exchanged blows with the
Disease Master killing him.
With their leaders destroyed a route began, the Newts moving swiftly
through the water to slay them. Simon found the missing crewman and other
farmers from the region who were to be sacrificed in the ceremony. Roku
two snake talked to the Shaman as the last of the Kur were cut down or
drowned. A group of Newts formed to escort the party back to the stream
and the River Queen. Since the Newt’s God had died (Hydra) Simon talked
up the advantages of Bandar and the powers of Wayfarers. He proposed that
they develop a fifth fighting style. Only time will tell if the proselytizing was
effective. With the rising waters the Newt’s aid was invaluable in returning to
the River Queen. As the storm broke the lines were cast of and the final leg
of the journey to Fort Raven began.

A Deal with Chaos

The marsh was overgrown with only dim light filtering in with poor line of
sights, the party could not see the club thrower. Simon and Roku started
systematically moving in the cover on either side of trail. When the strange
whirring sound of the flying club was heard they would dive down. Using the cover
and their stealth skills the two were able to advance to a low tower hidden by
trees, at the top stood an Ogre wielding the throwing clubs.
Simon teleported to the top of the tower surprising the Ogre while Roku moved
to the base of the tower. To Simon’s surprise the Ogre turned out to be a Scorpion
Ogre, the surprise did not slow Simon’s blades as he cut down the abomination. The
Ogre shouted as he fell and others of its ilk and giant scorpions came scuttling
out of the woods. As the rest of the party moved up Roku killed a scorpion while
Simon leaped from the tower and killed another Scorpion Ogre. Simon moved to a
third Ogre Scorpion, Roku killed a second scorpion and Brine and and Prospero
engaged two scorpions, Lasheur let fly with an arrow aiding Prospero. After killing
a third scorpion Roku fired a pistol at a fifth Scorpion Ogre, who responded by
charging him. Prospero and Brine finished there opponents and Brine rushed to
Roku’s aid. Prospero eyed zombies shambling forward, and let fly with a rain of
stone crushing five of eight. Roku’s and Brine faired poorly, both being wounded
and Brine’s right arm was crushed in the giant pincher of their foe. Roku with a
desperate lung finished their opponent.
As Prospero finished his spell several mystical bolts struck him, none did
damage but he decided to find this new foe, and burrowed forward towards a small
hut. As he emerged he spotted an Ogre Hag that spoke, “You are a powerful wizard,
but I have knowledge which you will want. If you kill me it will be lost and with
it your battle against the Kur will fail. My life and freedom and that of my minions
for a secret and power you will need.” Prospero hesitated, not wanting to deal with
the chaotic creature but as Simon had said many times “This is war and the goal is
to win”. Prospero shouted for a parley, the fighting ended and the Hag said she
would fetch the magic that Prospero would need. The tension was high as the group
waited facing their foes. The Hag returned with a feathered wand, “I have made two,
this controls the God of the Newts, one is held by the Kur, they do not know of this
one. Continue along the trail and you will encounter the site of the ritual they
prepare. I have fulfilled my part and will depart.” Prospero nodded and the Hag and
her minions faded into the marsh.
The party started treating the wounded, Brine was upset by the loss of his arm
but was comforted by the knowledge that when we arrived at Fort Raven the damage
could be repaired by a healer. As the wounds were dressed Lasheur and Prospero
searched the Hags hut. To Lasheur’s disappointment only two scrolls and two tome’s
where found, all sorcerous in nature. These were split between Roku and Prospero.
The party moved forward from the hut and discovered the ritual site without
a problem. It seemed like a Kur festival with over a hundred of the beasts and
countless Varls. Harpies in tree tops acted as sentries but seemed more interested
in the Kur antics than on the approaches to the site they were guarding. Roku spotted
a band of hidden Newts, he conversed with the and they provided a guide to show us the
location of their God. Moving to a new vantage point the party spotted the Newt God,
a Hydra with an iron collar on one of its heads. It appeared sickly, with festering
wounds. As a game the Kur drove Varl into its reach to be eaten. Moving closer the
party sighted a cave, near the entrance was a Kur Disease Master, a High Priest. If the
ritual was completed the Mash, Ard, and Lake Raven would all be poisoned with foul
diseases. The party started planning. Out of earshot of the Newt’s Simon impressed
upon the team that the Disease Master and Hydra both must die. Further he pressed Roku
to tell the Newt’s that once dispersed by our attack that the Kur must be hunted down
and killed. None must escape the marsh.

Chaos in the Marsh

After re-embarking on the River Queen our journey to Fort Raven continued.
For some hours the cruise was uneventful, but suddenly a current seemed
to grab the River Queen and push it towards shore, branches of a giant
tree swept out grabbing at the party, two crewmen were snatched being
pulled to the trunk of the tree. Lasheur shouted out, “Its a Methuselah
Tree, a Chaotic horror that sucks out the souls of its victims.” The
party initiated an attack, Roku leapt forward and engaged a branch.
Lasheur pulled his bow and loosed an arrow, which made a woody thunk
when it hit but proved to be ineffective. Simon ran and jumped into the
tree near one of the crewman and with powerful blow cut the branches
causing the crewman to fall to the ground. Prospero while dodging branches
searched through one of his satchels. In the mean time several
Kur appeared in the tree and skeletal vine horrors dropped from the
tree around the hero’s and onto the ship.

As the party’s attack continued a band of Newts emerged from the river firing
darts and engaging our enemies. The Aquilans, Brine and Gurgle, in shark form
made quick work of two of the horrors while Roku attacked the tree and with
Newt help got the fallen crewman back onto the river boat. Prospero handed
Dane a bottle and told her to toss it at the base of the trunk and then cast
a rain of stone that crushed a good part of the tree. Lasheur attacked with
his sword driving back a Kur. As Dane prepared her throw a screeching Harpy
swept down and grabbed the second crewman lifting him into the air. Dane made
a perfect throw and as the bottle broke a fire elemental erupted engulfing the
base of the tree. As the captain took the helm and drove the ship away from
the shore the final Kur and horrors were cut down and the party leapt back
to the ship. Prospero took aim but thought better of bringing the Harpy down
with a bolt, likely the fall would have killed the crewman. As the Methuselah
Tree collapsed in flames the captain headed up stream and half a mark from
attack moved back to the shore. The party disembarked and set out to find the
missing crewman. Roku shaped some candle wax into ear plugs and handed them
out for the party to when we found the Harpy.

Lasheur lead us through the marsh seemingly in circles until Brine noted
some strange tracks headed away from our course, after a tense discussion
with our tracker it was decided to humour Brine and investigate, five minutes
later the party spotted an Ogre. From concealment Lasheur drew an arrow and
let fly, wounding the Ogre, the rest of the party moved to attack. At the Ogre’s
wail several more Ogres appeared from a Rimward trail. An Ogre near the wounded
one began pounding on an old stump, which produced several swarms of blood crows.
The party battled and killed the Ogres and the crows, Lasheur was wounded but
Simon summoned Telpurr and was able to heal him. Once healed Lasheur started
down the trail that the Ogres had come from. A large club came flying out of
the woods hitting Lasheur in the chest as he stood to see the launching point
it flew out again knocking him to the ground. Roku recovered him and Simon
called to Bandar for aid to heal his friend an ally. A bright light surrounded
Lasheur and he was healed and breathing once more. Time to deal with the club

Quiting Ard

As Simon was planning a jail break for Roku, Itch approached him with a warning.
“The Ard thieves are not natural allies, Ratimer needed you but your usefulness
has ended. You need to depart before an unfortunate case of food poisoning occurs.
I’ve arranged passage on the River Queen, a flat-boat with a Dwarf mechanic,
Anders Black Smoke, as captain.”

In the meantime Roku’s mind was racing in endless circles in his cell as an unexpected
visitor arrived. A disembodied voice broke through Roku’s dark thoughts, “My my.
Quite the kettle of fish here Roku. You appear to be quite the loadstone for misfortune
and woe." Outside the bars Pel the Unseen, a Darkness sorcerer of some power and Roku’s
former mentor stood observing him. “I saw you in the square yesterday. Seems like
history repeating itself for you.” Roku, responded “You don’t understand and never
will, they died because of my failure.” The sorcerer chuckled, “I did not expect to
find you wallowing in self pity and brooding in the dark. On your feet cub!” During his
sorcery lessons this is generally when Pel would smack him with his staff. By reflex
Roku, moved to his feet, “Leave me there is nothing you can do”. Pel shook his head, “I
taught you how to harness the darkness in your soul and use it to pass unseen, strike
your foes, and shape the world around you. Your will is strong, do not descend into a
place where you cannot be reached, even by your friends. Are you a master of the
darkness within you, or a slave to it? Rise Up”. Roku wailed “They died, I could
do nothing.” Pel, “Consider your response in light of the facts. You knew nothing about
those prisoners and yet you cast away your freedom because you feel responsible for the
deaths of strangers. They were evil men Roku, agents of Ratimer and collaborators with
the Lazuri. They helped spread the Lazuri poison about the city and envisioned replacing
Ratimer. Did they have to die. I don’t know, but they were a type of cancer that always
finds a way to spread. I don’t know much about your allies but they seem like honorable
folk who are making sacrifices and hard decisions to improve a part of the world much
bigger than themselves. Seems like a good place to be. Think twice before walking away
from that. I have to go. I’m on my way out of the city – soon it will no longer be safe
for old scoundrels like me! You are at a cross roads and need to make a choice. Reflect
on one more puzzle for your old teacher”, Roku always hated Pel’s riddles, “Are you
content to let things happen to you, or will you make things happen for you?”

As his former mentor faded into the darkness his voice came as whisper, “Trade your
rage and anger for a cause bigger than just yourself. Or stay here and bemoan your
station as a pitiful victim of circumstance with no control of their own fate.”

Roku took a deep breath, his head cleared and the cell seemed small, dingy, dismal
and the smell was disgusting. At least his thoughts had become coherent, “What was I

A moment later a second voice came through the darkness, Roku immediately recognized
Dane’s voice “You hit like a girl, are you sane?”. Roku, apologized and said yes
he had cleared up some problems and was ready to leave. Dane could free him but
his hard won equipment would be lost to the guards, “Fetch Simon”, Roku knew he
would find a way to help.

Simon sent the team on its way with all their equipment and baggage, headed for the
Marlin’s Spike. As he prepared to leave Dane arrived with word from Roku. After
procuring a sleep bomb the two set off to free the One-armed Fel. Dane lead Simon
though secret tunnels of the thieves into the corridor outside Roku’s cell. After
greetings and freeing Roku from his cell Simon using his magic, walked through the
door into the Guardroom. Becoming tangible he tossed the bomb while taking a deep
breath. Soon the guards had collapsed and Simon and Roku were able to retrieve his

Once clear of the jail Simon sent Dane to fetch the others and bring them to the
river boat Itch had mentioned. The sooner they were out of Ard the better. Roku
and Simon reached the flat-boat and negotiated with the Captain. Soon they were
searching out any food stalls that were open rounding up provender for the trip
to Raven Lake. Like most Dwarves the Captain, Anders Black Smoke, was a crabby
sort complaining at every turn. Not enough provisions, to much baggage, to many
passengers. The team made do and headed up river in the morning. As a back drop
to their departure was the destruction of the Lazuri battle fleet that was coming
to occupy Ard. It was quite spectacular with the aerial antics of Giant Ravens
and Wyvrns, the flaming bundles from countless catapults and the exchange of
spells by the different priests and sorcerers. Just as the River Queen rounded
the corner loosing site of Ard the last of the Lazuri ships died in a thunderous
explosion. Simon thought with satisfaction “so much for the occupation of Ard…”.

Like most ship voyages this one was boring to the passengers, most caught up on
some sleep although the constant noise of the infernal engine made sleeping less
than pleasant. At sunset Anders pulled to the shore and anchored, he explained
that navigation at night was a danger, he wouldn’t risk his ship to the dark.

The team set a watch, appreciated by the crew. Brine and Gurgle changed to
their shark forms and circled the boat. The shrieking awoke everyone as two giant
eels attacked. Further darts flew out of the darkness, the team killed the eels
and then moved after the unseen foes. A short distance into the marsh they
encountered a band of Newts with a Shaman riding a giant Frog. The battle was
quick with the Newt’s being driven off. The frog did not escape and became
breakfast for the team and crew.

The next day was similar to the first, but around midday a small decrepit
sailing boat was sighted, instead of steering clear it aimed for the River
Queen, as the team readied their missile weapons a voice shouted out, have
you word of Simon Telgarth late of the Thicket. Simon took pause, something
about the voice was familiar. Simon responded “We have news, come along side
but draw no weapon”, as the boat neared Simon whooped in surprise and delight,
the boat held a single Elf, Lasher, friend and companion from many adventures
in the thicket. They quickly pulled him and his gear aboard, letting his
boat drift away. The rest of the day was spent telling of the many tales of
the adventures the friends had survived since their parting.

A Lazuri Centurion was hunting Lasher’s mother, together they had escaped
him and relocated to the elves of the Thicket where she would be safe. While
in the Thicket Lasher had heard of Simon’s call for volunteers to cleanse
Broadshoulders of the Lazuri taint. As the sun set the ship moored once more.

This night instead of eels a giant tentacled beast, a swamp kraken, attacked
grabbing people and throwing them about. Using his darkness powers Roku somehow
convinced the Newts behind the attack to recall the beast. Further he learned
that there was evil a foot in the marsh. Some type of chaos was at work. The
following morning as the anchor was raised Simon and Lasher spotted some boats
ahead. They appeared to be landing but it was to far to identify who or what
they were. When they neared the spot Roku ordered the captain to the shore.
The Dwarf complained about lost time, wages, costs, and whatever else he
could think up.

The party debarked, Lasher with the help of some plants identified a trail. The
team followed the trail to a Newt village that was being destroyed by a rabid
band of Kur. Many dead Newt warriors were about with an out numbered few few
still contested the village. The dog-men were killing indiscriminately, warriors,
females and children all fell to their blades. Together the team attacked
aiding the Newts. The raiding party was quickly destroyed, as Roku spoke with
the survivors Lasher identified a ring on a dead Newt that Prospero was able
to pocket. The Newt’s agreed to let us travel in peace but we were to remain
clear of the marsh. The team returned to the ship and we resumed our journey.

Death of Foxrun the Duke of Ard

Now was the time for the attack. Simon shouted, “Protect Foxrun!”, and chaos ensued.

Roku, fired a quick shot at Volini, it nicked him but the sleep draught had no effect. Prospero
summoned two sentinels one on either side of Foxrun and ordered them to protect the seated man.
Lazuri soldiers moved to attack Prospero and Roku in the hallway. Neither hit, but Roku retaliated
by cutting one down. Prospero blasted an assassin and the Silver Lazuri Priest, killing the
assassin but with no effect on the Priest. Simon and Igmar exchanged blows while other Lazuri
closed in on Simon, Telpurr cast a second Mirror Image and three more Simon’s came into view.
The support team (Dane, Gurgle, Brine, Stromcrow, and the initiates) opened fire with their
missile weapons. Although they killed a Lazuri they nearly wounded Simon with a stray shot.
The Silver Sash priest summoned a Salamander.

As the battle developed Roku cut down the second Red Sash that had charged him and Prospero
and moved into the room to confront the Silver Sash priest. Simon battled with Igmar and
the surrounding Lazuri soldiers. Volini changed his appearance to match Foxrun, a malamorph.
Once shifted Volini attacked the surprised Duke grappling him. Prospero ordered the sentinels to each
seize one of the Dukes and to move towards the support team as he entered the room casting a banish
spell on the Silver Sash’s salamander, its flame flickered and dimmed but was not extinguished.
Grimclaw exchanged blows downing one of the assassins. The support team again fired gaining the
attention of a Green Sash, again one of them hit a bystander but this time it was Igmar.

Gurgle and Stormcrow fought the Green sash with their hand weapons while the others again fired
this time hitting and downing Stormcrow. The sentinels who had moved to the center of the room
with the Dukes where enveloped in a circle of darkness. Roku slashed at the Silver Sash priest
wounding him while Prospero swung kindred destroying the Salamander. Grimclaw exchanged blows
with the final assassin taking a deadly slash from the assassins poisoned blade. Simon continued
the dance with Igmar wounding him gravely. Telpurr summoned the light of day destroying the
darkness surrounding the sentinels.

The Silver Sash priest reached Igmar and cast a spell of healing, it aided Igmar but he was
still bleeding. Roku moved towards Grimclaw and cut down the last assassin. He quickly
gave Grimclaw the poison antidote we had gotten from the thieves guild. Prospero moved towards
the sentinels and saw the dead body of Foxrun. Simon finished Igmar, and spun and cut
down the Priest as well. Roku moved to the support team and killed the Green Sash.

As Simon cut down the last two Green Sash warriors our allies (Essa, Tessa, Aaron) arrived.
With the Duke dead and servants with the knowledge that we gained entry there was little way
to protest our innocence. At best our allies would be tainted by any aid they would give us.
Simon called for parchment, quill, and ink. As Simon wrote out a simple note to leave on the
Duke’s body the others quickly searched the downed enemies. Simon’s note was simple:

I Simon Telgarth, White Lion of the Dawn, came to request an audience with the Duke
Foxrun. I have been falsely accused by enemies of Ard and sought justice from the Duke.
The Duke agreed to judge my guilt from single combat with the Lazuri Captain Igmar, that
combat was interrupted by Volini, a malamorph. Through all my efforts I was unable to
save the Duke from his killer Volini. I leave now because I cannot receive justice in
Ard. The Lazuri are the enemy of all.

The party recovered several articles of interest, Dane quickly lead the beyond the castle
and to the sewers where they once more found sanctuary with the thieves. The team recovered
the following items from the Lazuri and assassins.
o Ring of protection
o 4 Master work throwing daggers
o Wand of Vipers
o Charm of the Warrior
o Crystal Ball
o Salamander Gloves

While waiting among the thieves word arrived that Simon and Trish had been captured and
judged, the execution would take place the following morning. Since Simon and Trish were
still with the team this seemed to be some sort of sham, but on the morrow the team was
convinced to view the execution. Going in hooded disguises they went to the central square.
Two prisoners magically gagged and shackled were shown to the crowd. Their appearance closely
matched Simon’s and Trish’s, Roku noted marks on the their clothing that was likely smeared
make-up. As the first was to be put to death Roku attempted to shout out and stop the execution,
the crowd drowned out his cries. Prospero quietly drew his sword and prevented him from moving
forward. After the second drop of the guillotine Roku disappeared into the crowd. Returning to the
hideout Roku was absent. Later Dane returned saying that Roku was in the city jail. She was not certain what
had transpired but it was rumored that Roku had gone to the jail and attacked the Sargent of
the guard. No more was known.

Although their sham deaths gave Simon and the others a degree of freedom they had not known for
years someone had died under the Guillotines blade. Simon was not pleased, he was forced into
a near hopeless rescue and then had others killed in his place. Dane brought word that the
ones executed were Ratimer’s opposition. She now controlled all the thieves of Ard. Many bad
things happen in War, but Simon decided to have a chat with his allies. Too he would need
to free Roku, his inclusion in the group from a magic accident at first seemed plausible, but
the recent event convinced Simon that the Shadow and Illusion of Bander was at work. Bander had
somehow sent the Fel to aid Simon. Why he did not know. He would have helped Roku in any event
but to ignore an agent of Bander would be truly foolhardy.


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